Alex Azar formerly worked for Eli Lilly and the second Bush administration.
President Donald Trump has nominated Alex Azar, a former top pharmaceutical executive and George W. Bush health official, to lead the US Department of Health and Human Services after his initial pick, Tom Price, was forced to step down following an ethics scandal.
Trump announced the nomination by promising that the ex-Eli Lily executive would “lower drug prices” and deliver better health care.
Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2017
The president promised during the campaign to help bring down the rising costs of medicine and accused drug companies of “getting away with murder.” But his administration has yet to take any concrete steps to reduce pharmaceutical prices, and he has now nominated a HHS secretary closely tied to the industry.
Azar would also be responsible for overseeing the Affordable Care Act, which Trump and congressional Republicans have so far failed to repeal but the administration has taken independent steps to dismantle.
Azar worked for Eli Lilly, one of the 15 largest drug companies in the world, for a decade, according to Bloomberg. He oversaw US operations before stepping down in January. He also served on the board of the biopharmaceutical industry trade group BIO, according to Politico.
During the George W. Bush administration, Azar served as general counsel and deputy secretary at HHS. He also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earlier in his career.
The top items on the HHS agenda: Obamacare and drug prices
Lowering drug prices was one of Trump’s signature campaign promises. He railed against Big Pharma repeatedly in stump speeches and during debates.
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